By Andrea Busche
The Wildflower Boutique Offers the Latest Fashions and Accessories as Well as Inclusive Sizes
When patronizing a small business, you can be sure the odds are good that proprietors have invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making their dream a reality. And when customers support the small business economy, the owners typically return this loyalty in spades. This certainly holds true of Superior’s new clothing shop, The Wildflower Boutique.
The boutique is a “one woman shop,” and owner Tiffany Simons has worked hard to establish a retail establishment from scratch, all on her own. Much like the beautiful wildflowers for which her business is named, the shop has grown quickly, yet organically. Simons initially did business out of her house in her hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, before eventually leasing a successful storefront on one of Superior’s main thoroughfares – with a few detours along the way.
The Wildflower Boutique offers inclusive sizing to make every body feel both comfortable and confident, and Simons receives inspiration through making personal connections with her customers. She also shares special goodies and exclusive sales with her beloved “regulars.”
As a result, she loves her profession, and that passion is reflected in every customer interaction. “I’ve always thought of this as a fun thing,” Simons said. “I consider the people I sell to as my friends. Going to work doesn’t really feel like ‘work’ – it’s just part of my daily routine.”
From Hibbing to Duluth to Superior
Simons hadn’t always dreamed of working in fashion. But after a friend began selling LuLaRoe products (a women’s clothing brand), Simons assisted in assembling some outfits and realized she had a knack for it. Shortly thereafter, “I decided to give it a shot,” she said. “I wanted to offer products that were affordable for people.”
She also wanted “a cute name” for her business, she added. “At the time, I owned 13 acres of land and lived in a rural area with lots of wildflowers,” said Simons. “So I decided on The Wildflower Boutique. My business slogan is ‘Let your style grow wild and free.’”
Simons began her retail operation in 2017 out of her home in Hibbing. Once operations grew, she installed a 160-square-foot “she-shack,” as she described it, in her yard to sell her wares. Her business continued to grow, and in 2018, she decided to lease a space in Hibbing’s Irongate Plaza.
Due to meeting her significant other, who’s from the Twin Ports area, in addition to changes at Irongate Plaza, it was soon time for yet another move. Simons relocated to Duluth in 2020 and reopened the business at 1019 Central Entrance near the Stone Ridge Shopping Mall.
“She gets the orders out on time and always answers questions and comments on Facebook. I’m also a member of the VIP group, and I appreciate getting first dibs on items before they’re in the shop.”
– Customer Deb Meyer
Another move followed shortly thereafter. While she currently continues to reside in Duluth, Simons had previously lived in Superior for three years and loved the city. “I’ve always liked this area, but it was mostly the extra square footage and price point that brought my business to Superior,” she said.
By making this move, Simons’ business footprint grew from about 1,000 to 2,200 square feet. Her new location at 1608 Tower Ave. (in the former Northwoods Music building) also provides storage space and an office area. “I have almost tripled my inventory in moving to this new space,” she noted.
Updates needed for the space have been fairly minor. Simons added a rock wall feature, slat wall features, furniture and décor. She also incorporated a fitting room so shoppers can try on their items before they buy. And photos of her dog, Henry (a Saint Bernard), are proudly displayed within the store. As well as the location’s high visibility, additional, convenient parking behind the building and across the street are nice perks.
The Wildflower Boutique opened its doors in Superior on June 9. Simons is especially grateful to her significant other and his parents, who helped her tag merchandise, hang up items and get settled in.
Online Presence Nets Global Customers
In addition to her brick and mortar store, Wildflower has a strong online presence. It was particularly beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic’s early stages and continues to be lucrative. Simons sells and ships her merchandise all over the United States as well as other countries including Japan, Finland and Canada.
Another popular option is the VIP group. By joining The Wildflower Boutique’s Facebook page, VIP shoppers are offered special sales, prizes, goodies/giveaways and access to Simons’ livestreams, where she personally models clothing and accessories for her viewers.
“It’s really interactive,” Simons said about her livestreams. “I can make closer connections with people, and it feels like a fun night.”
Great Selection of Clothing and Accessories
Simons describes her merchandise as “cute, casual and classy. I sell everyday-wear pieces that you can dress up.” She added that she sources her items from about 30 different companies.
Wildflower offers clothing and accessories including shirts/tops (cardigans, sweatshirts, long-sleeved tops, tank tops, sweaters), bottoms (including leggings and “jeggings” – comfy, stretchy pants that look like jeans), shoes, jewelry, gloves, hats, handbags, makeup bags, makeup brush bags, lunch pails, totes, wallets, soaps and stickers.
The boutique’s most popular items are the jeggings and leggings, but Simons also shared a few current trends: “Prints are coming back – people really like leopard and plaid. People also like layering pieces, such as a tank top under a cardigan.”
A priority for Simons is to make every person feel beautiful, so she offers sizes ranging from small to 3X.
“I have a few family members that are plus-sized, and I know it’s difficult for them to find on-trend items in plus sizes,” she said. “I want to create an environment where people are comfortable and can open up with their clothing choices. It’s important to feel beautiful, whatever size you are.”
This philosophy has been a huge hit with her customers. Debra Meyer, a resident of Mountain Iron, Minnesota, is simply thrilled with Wildflower’s offerings.
“I like cool clothes and I like Tiffany’s style,” Meyer said. “A lot of places don’t carry plus-size items that are cute and younger-looking. Often, they are dowdy and kind of ‘old lady.’
“Tiffany’s items are also good quality,” she added. “The tops are very soft. I appreciate her carrying the clothes she does, especially for the plus-sized person.” As a result, Meyer has been shopping online at Wildflower for about a year-and-a-half and plans to continue. Thus far, she has purchased leggings, dresses, tops, a purse and two makeup bags.
“I appreciate Tiffany’s helpfulness,” said Meyer. “She is so helpful and sincere. It’s very easy to shop online, too. She gets the orders out on time and always answers questions and comments on Facebook.
I’m also a member of the VIP group, and I appreciate getting first dibs on items before they’re in the shop.”
“Tiffany is genuine and kind … She always knows my name, asks personal questions and makes me feel at home. Her recommendations are always spot-on, and she has wonderful taste.”
– Customer Cheryl Wisneski
Another repeat customer, Cheryl Wisneski of Duluth, also appreciates everything Wildflower has to offer. “I’ve been shopping at Wildflower since she was in the Duluth location. I loved shopping at the Duluth location – but I really love the Superior location,” said Wisneski. “There is more space, more clothing choices and more parking. From Tiff’s shop, I’ve purchased leggings, dresses, cardigans, shoes, sandals, t-shirts, tops, sweaters and more.”
She also loves the store “because I know that I’m getting a quality product,” Wisneski noted, adding that she appreciates Simons’ keen eye for fashion. “I’m getting something unique,” she said. “Whether I’m shopping at the store or purchasing from her website or online with her live shopping events, her shop is trendy and full of wonderful merchandise, and her website is always updated.
“Tiffany is genuine and kind,” Wisneski added. “Whether I’m contacting her online or shopping in her store, she always knows my name, asks personal questions and makes me feel at home. Her recommendations are always spot-on, and she has wonderful taste. I’m a member of the VIP group and really enjoy being able to shop online when I can’t get to the store. I really like the convenience of shopping for quality clothing and accessories on my own time.”
Support From the Small Business Community
Simons is very impressed with the support she’s received from the Superior business community. “Multiple business owners – from Angie’s Closet, Superior Waffles, Nummi Jewelers, Serenity Spa and Salon, Aces [On 29th] and Pizza Man – have all come in to offer their support,” she said. “People here realize it’s important to support small businesses. I’m used to doing everything on my own, and having that support is really heartwarming.”
She also cited the support of Jodi
Rochon, who is the administrative assistant for the Superior Business Improvement District. “Jodi has come in quite a few times,” Simons said. “She’s helped me with questions I had about signage and has even bought a few items.”
Simons is proud and grateful to have built up a successful business with many repeat customers who appreciate everything she and her boutique have to offer.
“I’m proud of how far I’ve come since I started,” she said. “I have more variety now, but I think people also buy from me because of what I bring to the table. My recurring customers, who enjoy being part of the group, are my biggest joy.”
The Wildflower Boutique is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers can shop online at styleswildandfree.com or on the business Facebook page 24/7. PS
Andrea Busche is a Twin Ports-based freelance writer.